Christoph Kramer did not know he was playing in the FIFA World Cup final after suffering concussion, referee Nicola Rizzoli has revealed.
Germany midfielder Kramer suffered a blow to head in a collision with Argentina's Ezequiel Garay in the 19th minute of Sunday's showpiece, which Joachim Low's men won 1-0 after extra time.
Kramer was allowed to play on despite the coming together, but was substituted in the 32nd minute as the severity of his problem became apparent.
The Borussia Monchengladbach man was later revealed to have suffered from concussion, leading to criticism of FIFA's protocol over such injuries.
And the game's referee Rizzoli has now disclosed the nature of a bizarre conversation that led Kramer to be replaced by Andre Schurrle.
Rizzoli told Gazzetta dello Sport : "Shortly after the blow suffered by Garay, Kramer came to me and asked: 'Ref, is this the final?'
"I thought he was joking, he repeated the question and said: 'I need to know if this is really the final.'
"At my 'yes', amazed, he concluded: 'Thanks, it was important to know'. I advised [Bastian] Schweinsteiger and they replaced Kramer."
Young Socceroos set for kick off in 2018 SBS Cup
A selection of Australia’s finest U18 footballers commence their 2018 SBS Cup campaign in Japan tomorrow evening. Ante Milicic’s side take on the host nation at Fujieda Stadium at 7.30pm kick off (AEST). AUSSIES ABROAD: Maclaren, Vukovic impress in Europe READ: Why Rene
Instant MLS impression a promising sign for Brad Smith
Brad Smith played just over four hours of football for Bournemouth last season. But it took 73 minutes for the Caltex Socceroos fullback to claim accord with new club Seattle Sounders after an impressive Major League Soccer debut yesterday. AUSSIES ABROAD: Maclaren, Vukovic
'It feels like I've never been away': Jamie Maclaren's relief after summer in the dark
From an initial FIFA World Cup™ omission to constant uncertainty over his future, it’s been a difficult summer for Jamie Maclaren. However, after making his first start of the season for Hibernian yesterday, the Caltex Socceroos striker feels right back at home in Scottish Pre